Friday, November 30, 2007

Presidential Candidates' Health Care Reform Proposals

What do the leading presidential candidates' health care proposals have in common? Find out in a new policy brief from the Health Policy Research Center (HPRC) at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Online Shopping Scams

Since we're now in the midst of the holiday shopping season, here's an article from Smart Money magazine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Use DigBig to shorten long work-related Web addresses (URLs), making them easier to communicate. DigBig is free to use. Hey, isn't this like TinyURL? Well, yes and no.

"Why should I register with DigBig to shorten URLs?"
DigBig URLs will be linked directly to your own account, meaning you can see all the URLs you have shortened and the number of hits they receive.
DigBig staff continually moderate use of DigBig to ensure it remains a work-related resource, free of spam abuse.
You can opt-in to receive news of enhancements to the DigBig service.

"Can I use DigBig if I do not register?"
No, you must register to use DigBig. Registration is free, but requiring it enables us to prevent spam abuse of the service.

"I used to be able to use DigBig without registering. What happened?"
As of 1 May 2007, we implemented the registration requirement to provide users with more functionality and eliminate spam abuse of the service.

"What will happen to old DigBig URLs?"
DigBig URLs created before the introduction of the registration system will stay exactly as they are and will continue to work. They will not expire or be removed.
Existing URLs cannot be assigned to a member account.

"What if I shorten a URL that someone else has already shortened?"
You will receive a new unique shortened DigBig URL

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Online disclosure by state governments

You may be interested in a report that the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First released this month on "the disclosure practices of state governments in the areas of economic development subsidies, procurement contracts and state lobbying activities."

They "rate each state on the quantity and quality of its online disclosure....also provide compilations of links to the disclosure websites of the states in the three categories." Overall, New York is tied with seven other states for 16th place.

The report and online supplementary material can be found here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New York City gets bigger

From yesterday's New York Times on-line. As Lenny said, "Congratulations to Joe and Warren for their success."

Manhattan: Population Milestone
Published: November 21, 2007

New York City’s population has passed another milestone, officially topping 8.25 million. The Census Bureau originally reported that from mid-2005 to mid-2006, the population grew by a statistically insignificant 587 people, with gains in Manhattan and Staten Island. But the Department of City Planning challenged the census count, drawing on construction permits and other documents. Yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the bureau had concurred that the city’s official count was 8,250,567, up more than 36,000 since the adjusted 2005 total. The mayor said the revisions would mean an additional $77 million in federal aid to the state by the end of the decade.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wall Street Journal online going free?

Murdoch takes on FT with free online WSJ By Alistair Osborne, November 14, 2007

BUT: for those who might be interested in Dow Jones and WSJ content (before Mr Murdoch decides to make it free), I've found an e-mail on the BUSLIB listserv where there are "several places you can find lots of WSJ snd DJ material for free, For example, stories about the media are made available, full text, free, via the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University."

See this article.

See Also:
New Blogs Available from Wall Street Journal Online; New Economy and Deals Pages Too

New/Enhanced Research Tools from the Wall Street Journal: From Mutual Fund Screening to Campaign 2008 Timelines Adds Article Recommendations, Biz Tech Blog, Portfolio E-Mail Containing Charts Accessible in Excel, and More

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Census PDA

I get to thank Bob S. for this article from Popular Mechanics, complete with imbedded video, about the personal digital assistants that Census enumerators are using.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finding More People

The King County Law Library has something called public sleuthing links. While some of them are specific to Washington state, there are others that are governmental or private that anyone could use.

The blog Finding People has a bunch of useful links, both free and fee-based.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finding People

A conversation on the Business Librarians listserv yielded this article: People Search Tools Populate the Web by by Paula J. Hane in Searcher magazine. In it, she mentions several specific sites. I decided to see if I could find myself.

On Wink, there were 231 people named Roger Green, and I was somewhere in the 20s. So I registered, and I ended up #1, with little usable info, save for my city,while ANOTHER record for me, that gave my place of employment and my job title, STILL resided in the 20s.

On Spock, I was 42 out of 441, but there was enough identifiers to know it was me. In addition to my age, it noted:
married Protestant librarian Pisces Grad / professional school Black / African descent Suny College At New Paltz straight From Binghamton, NY.

I went to Pipl and found me all over the place, without even indicating my city/state. I found my work e-mail address (long defunct) and my blog. Adding my city/state, I found my current address and phone number, and my previous two, one from 1999 or earlier. This site also offers more in depth info about me for a fee.

There are more sites for you to check out as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business

The SBA Office of Advocacy released the Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and
Small Business for the third quarter of 2007. Among the trends that are
observed, real gross domestic product grew 3.9 percent in the third
quarter of 2007, much faster than anticipated and comparable to second
quarter growth. Strong growth in exports (assisted by a weak dollar) and
solid gains in consumer spending helped fuel the rise in output.
Meanwhile, unemployment rose slightly, to 4.7 percent in September from
4.5 percent in June, but the expanding economy generated 282,000 more jobs
than it lost.

In September, the Federal Reserve lowered its federal funds target rate by
0.5 percent. Interest rates paid by small businesses and consumers moved
in tandem. Many observers contend that the move was necessitated by credit
concerns in the financial markets related to sub-prime lending. In
addition, overall inflation remained under control, with the consumer
price index rising an annualized 1 percent and producer prices falling 0.5
percent. Year-to-year inflation figures show a more substantial increase.
Consumer prices, for example, rose 2.8 percent from September 2006 to
September 2007. One culprit is higher energy prices. The price of a barrel
of West Texas crude oil rose $12.45 in the quarter, averaging just below
$80 a barrel in September.

Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business is located here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2006-2007 Annual Statistical Report of New York State Tax Collections

Statistical Summaries and Historical Tables: This publication contains a series of statistical tabulations detailing taxes administered by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The information presented includes revenues and selected tax structure and consumption information for the State?s major taxes. It a= lso presents data for some locally imposed taxes.

This edition presents information for New York State Fiscal Year 2006-2007 (SFY 2006-2007) and some historical statistics. New York State's fiscal year is April 1 - March 31.

To download the entire publication and statistical tables, please visit here.

Monthly tax collection information is also available here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Track the true cost of meetings

"Meetings can be a waste of time. Well if that’s true, they’re a big financial drain, too. Ever wondered how much?"

The Meeting Miser is "a handy new management tool for BNET users: Type in the titles and locations of all your attendees, click the Start button, and the Miser runs a tab of your meeting’s actual cost, as measured by the median salaries of everybody in the room."

It's imprecise - sometimes it's difficult to find the exact job titles - but not without value. The monthly staff meetings in my office cost about $5.16 per minute.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

UB Libraries Develops New York State Geographic Data/Maps Database

Ever wonder how many more canals there are in New York State other than the Erie Canal? Where are our reservoirs? What areas are designated "forests"? Where are the "falls" other than Niagara? (there are 163 more)

The University at Buffalo Libraries now provides a database, the NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection, developed by Geosciences Librarian Michele Shular, which facilitates searching and locating 38,000 places, features, and other geographic information within New York State. Ms. Shular has electronically linked U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) digital maps archived at the UB Libraries with the New York State portion of the "Geographic Names Information System" (GNIS), a Federal repository of official domestic geographic names maintained by the USGS. The NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection is available free to the public on the UB Libraries web site. This comes out just in time for Geography Awareness Week, the third week in November.

The digital maps, technically referred to as georeferenced Digital Raster Graphics (DRGs), can be printed for class or field work or imported into Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. For example, DRG topographic maps can be combined with other geospatial data, such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), to enhance terrain and slope visualizations useful for site planning, land management, and earth science studies. This GIS import feature is useful for students, technical researchers and professionals in many fields, such as business, government, planning, and more.

Searches can be run on geographic names, feature type, by county map, by U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle, or by a merger of multiple categories. When searching the database, there are links provided to the appropriate feature in Google Maps. For example, you can locate:
4961 schools
298 hospitals
590 towers (largely radio/TV)
427 swamps
68 streams in Erie County
127 islands in St. Lawrence County
This type of extensive geodata/maps/gazetteer database follows the lead of a similar product by University of Virginia librarians.

Ms. Shular notes that the creation of this database is meant to promote and facilitate public access to free topographic maps and gazetteer information for New York State through an easy, searchable interface. "Topographic maps are wonderful tools that provide detailed information for natural and cultural features on the ground, such as slopes, valleys, rivers, roads, and even vegetation cover. Whether it is a K-12 teacher looking for geography class maps, a hiker looking to print a field map, or a GIS technician searching for a digital image to import into a GIS application, this database services a wide variety of needs. In time, the database will be expanded to include maps in a variety of scales, as well as other format types of geospatial data."

Don Gramlich, Lead Programmer Analyst in the UB Libraries, provided technical support for the development of the database.

For questions or assistance with the NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection, Ms. Shular can be reached in the UB Libraries by email, or by phone at 645-2947 x223.

(Thanks to Data Detective Michael R. Lavin of the University at Buffalo.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Children Get Less Television Time

According to data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau: in 2004, 47 percent of teenagers had restrictions on what they watched on television, when they watched, and for how long, up from 40 percent in 1994.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

That Modern Census Technology

Here's a scan of a 1940 Popular Science article on the Census on the "Modern Mechanix" blog. The article looks at the use of a new, modern punch-card system to speed up the incredible task of counting "about 132,000,000 Americans."

Of course, Census fans know that Herman Hollerith actually devised the first practical use the punch cards as well as developing the original tabulating equipment to speed the processing of the Census back in 1890.

Monday, November 5, 2007

STAR Rebate Deadline Extension

The following was recently posted to the state tax department Web site. Listed below is a brief description, followed by a link to the document.

Acting New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara G. Billet announced that Gov. Eliot Spitzer recently signed legislation extending the deadline for homeowners to apply for their 2007 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program check from November 30 to December 31.

In addition, Acting Commissioner Billet also said that reminders about the program will be sent to about 600,000 property owners statewide who have yet to apply for their rebate check.

To view the entire document and rates please visit here.